I played here on a glorious July day and found the course an enjoyable test of golf. The welcome was warm and the stipulated 2-ball format made for an unhurried 3 hour round, which is always a plus point in my book. The course was in pretty good condition; my only complaint would be that the fairways were a bit scrubby in places. The card is slightly quirky with just one par 5 and five par 3s, but this shouldn’t detract from the experience. What it lacks in distance, it makes up for with excellent bunkering and gorse and heather which will invariably catch a wayward drive. This is certainly true on the 3rd, which at 367 yards offers a chance – but only if you can negotiate the tight fairway and well placed bunkers from the tee. 7 is another good hole, a long par 4 with a blind drive over heather and a huge bunker. However, the course comes to life on the back 9, which has a superb collection of par 4s from 11 right through to 18. The par 3s were particularly enjoyable – the short 5th is a great looking hole, while 6 and 15 – both played over water – add some variety to the course. This forum makes much of the comparison between West Sussex and its heathland contemporaries in this part of the country. I can only draw on my experience of Walton Heath and I would say that West Sussex is prettier and more fun to play. Walton Heath is a true championship course and a tougher, better, test of low handicappers although if I had to choose one of them to play every week, then it would be West Sussex. After all, you cannot hear the drone of the M25 from the fairways here. A 6-ball course this is not – those who have rated it as such have, in my opinion, missed the point of the ratings system (there needs to be some differentiation between the very good and the outstanding). But a high 4 or a low 5? I’ll go for 5.
Date: July 16, 2011